Tagged: Admissions decisions

Why Do Ivy Colleges Not Accept APs For Credit?

Why do Ivy League schools not accept APs?

Rosemary Ward Laberee

Rosemary Ward Laberee, Gig Education Expert – 21 years and still counting.Updated 10h ago

Posted on Quora 4/16/19

They have their reasons.

A few years ago Dartmouth did a study. They gave incoming students (who had taken AP psychology and got a 5 on the exam) a test to see how much they knew. At the same time they gave students who did not have AP psychology the same test. The students who had taken AP psychology and who had done quite well on the AP exam did no better on this assessment than the students who did not take AP Psychology.

They stopped accepting AP courses for college credit. Most elite universities are skeptical in this realm. They like to see their applicants have some AP course work because then they know that the student is prepared for college level work. But they prefer their students to take the basic courses at their college. Giving away Courses does them no favors and offers them no advantage. They do not need to negotiate this so usually they don’t.

Two of my own kids had taken AP micro and macro and did well on the exams. Their Ivy League college had no interest in awarding credit for this coursework, but, more importantly, according to my kids, that was a very good thing. Most of what they learned in these AP classes in high school was covered in the first six weeks of their college class. After that, the material was new. What they learned in the AP courses in high school was very inadequate when compared to what was covered in their actual college course for this subject.

Hope this helps –

Note added: This answer assumes the questioner wants to know why elite universities do not accept APs for credit, allowing the student to take fewer courses and pay less tuition. They don’t care very much about saving you money and they strongly prefer that you take the courses at their school. You might get to skip a class (without any tuition adjustment) and this may or may not be advisable.

Test Optional Variations

maybeMore and more colleges are offering applicants the option of applying without submitting test scores.  Each college has its own agenda and definition of “optional” .  The agenda can range from dropping the potentially lowest scoring admitted students when reporting the middle 50% of admits (which raises the score band and therefore selectivity and college rankings), to encouraging less prepared students to apply, to a genuine belief that scores don’t reflect college readiness.

Test Optional applications generally mean that the admissions office will look at GPA, rank, curriculum, recommendations and high school activities when making an admissions decision.  A few disregard scores if sent but most will consider them if they are part of the student’s package.

Many Test Optional colleges request the scores after a student has been admitted, either for statistical analysis or for placement in first year classes.  Not taking any admissions qualifying exam can be a handicap.

While not reporting test scores could lead to a “YES!” from the admissions office, it could also mean a “NO!” for merit aid.  Almost everywhere, merit aid decisions are based on a combination of GPA, scores and rank.  With no scores to boost a student into an automatic grant, non-submitting students don’t qualify regardless of their grades and the rigor of their high school courses.

If you are considering not sending ACT or SAT scores, ask questions of the admissions office.  Do you need scores to be eligible for “free” money?  Are there additional requirements of students not submitting scores? If you choose to submit, how are the scores used?  What will be substituted if no scores are sent? How will placement decisions be made?

The more you learn about the options at each college you plan to apply to, the better your decisions will be.

For explanations of admissions vocabulary and policies, make an appointment with Stephanie for a phone or in person talk to answer your questions.  610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com.